Beatrice Gwendolyn Harris

7 August, 194611 June, 2021

Beatrice Gwendolyn Marshall Harris was born in San Diego, CA on August 7, 1946. She was received into Heaven on Friday, June 11, 2021, at 4:52am.

Known affectionately to many as Gwen, she can be described as many describe the sound of jazz: as a beautiful mess. Complicated, creative, magical, mysterious, wise, and worrisome; all in one. A child phenom, she mastered the piano before her feet could touch the pedals. The only child born to Abbott Julius “A.J.” Marshall and Bertha Beatrice Mobley Marshall, she loved her family, education, and being an educator. The bright-eyed debutant moved to Los Angeles, CA where she met her husband, Albert Harris. They saw each other through the smoke and delicious aroma of barbeque. Although she was told she would never have children, from her and Al’s union, four children were born: Albert Julius “A.J” Harris, Alberlynne “Abby” Diedre Harris Woods, and twins, Hannibal Alexander Harris, and Jonathan Alan Harris.

Gwen loved being a mother. It was her greatest passion. Many consider themselves her “5th” child. Whether it was baking her famous chocolate chip cookies, making tacos, spaghetti, or tuna noodle casserole, feeding her family also meant feeding our hearts with her love for our Lord and feeding many minds with the latest news and education. She was a news junkie who loved to discuss politics with any and everyone.

She had a very successful career as a teacher and worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District and Inglewood Unified School District as an English teacher, Science teacher, Math teacher, and even a substitute teacher. She helped many families to learn about private and parochial school alternatives championing the A Better Chance Program and the Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs. She loved sharing what she knew would make others smile. Gwen had an unwavering faith in God. She met and made many friends at Bethel Baptist Church and Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego, CA as well as at Bethany Baptist Church and Calvary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. She took her last communion while watching her favorite TV Pastor, Bishop G.E. Patterson, on June 6, 2021, followed by her favorite Sunday dinner of short ribs with rice, gravy, and collard greens.

Beatrice Gwendolyn Marshall Harris will be lovingly remembered by her husband, Al, her children, A.J., Abby, Hannibal, and Jonathan, all of her grandchildren, Hannah Gwendolyn Mackayla Knight Harris, Ryker Stephen Harris, Jonnie Joslyn Harris, Hannibal Tatum Knight Harris, Hendrix Julius Harris, Harley Alan Harris, daughter-in-law, Kesha Harris, son-in-law, James Woods, Jr. all Marshall and Harris in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews, and all of her “5th” children.

Gwen was a private woman but opened her heart and her home to so many. She enjoyed the gathering of family and friends but also excelled in playing and performing solo. Her magnificence required all to listen, be amazed, learn, and in the end, to simply provide applause to let her know, well done.


  • Graveside Service

    Thursday, 24 June , 2021


Beatrice Gwendolyn Harris

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